200,000 young people care for parents with mental health problems

Young people who live with and care for parents who have mental health problems are at a major disadvantage in school and in society.  This conclusion was drawn by research from the Princess Royal Trust for Carers and the Mental Health Foundation.  They estimate that in the U.K. at least 200,000 young people between the ages of nine and twenty-five are in this care-giving situation.

The report, based on the views of young carers themselves as well as mental health professionals, educators and carer’s service workers, shows that these young people are missing out on a normal childhood.  They are often isolated and lonely, and many suffer from feelings of resentment and frustration as well as guilt, anxiety and general stress.

There are even more problems for young caregivers who are dealing with a parent or parents who have serious mental disorders such as severe depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, often aggravated by the use of alcohol.  These youngsters are too often out of school or habitually late, unable to complete assignments as required, and generally disruptive.  They are often subject to bullying and have a hard time making friends.  Possibly the worst consequence is the likelihood of the child developing his or her own mental disorder in later years.

The study concluded that these young caregivers often “fall between the cracks” of mental health and social services, and there is a real need for the existing services to offer more support and hopefully concrete help with the problems they encounter. According to Dr. Dan Robotham of the Mental Health Foundation, while some support groups for these young people do exist, a lot more should be done to give them the help and encouragement they need in this stressful and often painful time in their lives.

Leave a Reply




You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>